How Many Speakers?

After listening to the podcast discussion about surround sound in the Lab it got us wondering just how many speakers is enough for Home Theatre.

The standard is obviously 5.1, with five speakers and a dedicated subwoofer. But we recently supplied speakers and amplification for a What Hi-Fi? demonstration at the Stuff Live Show for a 7.2 system, and looking at the specifications on most surround sound receivers we wondered whether you used 5.1, 6.1, 7.2 or any other multiples of speakers. Let us know.

6 Comments

  • Pete says:

    I think 5.1 is enough.
    Perhaps, I think if someone want to add speakers to his setup, it should be a subwoofer to even bass response within the room.
    There is not enough material out there encoded in 6.1 or 7.1 to justify the buy of additional speakers for me..

  • Erwin says:

    I think an infinite amount would be ideal… Something like the hemisphere in the Cornwall Eden Project.

    I am kidding ofcourse, but I was looking into the matter because I am designing my own new house with a hometheatre / multipurpose room. i read about the new 11.2 Audissey DSX and 9.2 PLIIz. I tried a pair of extra front height speakers on my Yamaha RX-V2700 receiver and I have to admit it provides more dept during PS3 war games and more scale during Star Wars battle scenes.
    It’s all distilled from the 5.1 discrete channels ofcourse.

    In the real world, it all comes down to the room size and shape: if the room is deep and the seats are far from the back wall, one can add rear speakers.
    I doubt many rooms can be used with the front “wide” speaker from DSX. Height should be no problem since the TV/screen is mostly put against a wall (and you can put height speakers even in the ceiling). Even the cheapest new Pioneer receiver now has the choice between rears and heights (PLIIz)

    Most important improvement would be the addition of a second subwoofer though.

  • Allan says:

    I have a 7.1 system with active subs in towers, and a stand alone sub for a total of three, I am still saving for one more because of uneven bass. This is wilth Audyssey room correction. I want to have subs in my end tables, should take care of the problem. The next big upgrade to surrround sound would be filling in the gap between the front mains, and side surrounds. That’s the place I notice something is missing in surround sound. I am considered an audio nut by my frineds, and have always arrranged the room around the sound system, but I am not able to add anymore speakers because of practical reasons. Filling the main to surround gap is the last significant step I think. I don’t find myself wishing the sound was ‘taller’; maybe a overhead ceiling speaker for movies might make more sense. Definetly don’t need more channels in the rear.

  • Jeppe says:

    To me 7.2 seems like the ideal solution.. 2 woofers for ideal bass balance.. Side and rear speakers for the larger soundfield.. But the lack of 7,1 recordings makes it a “no go” .. So for the time beeing my aim is another woofer so i can get to 5.2 . In the future, who knows?

  • Celt16 says:

    I wired and implemented 7.1 3 or 4 years ago – all B&W and Classe (803 Matrix, 805 Matrix(3), DS6, and ASW 850 – but have to echo the sentiment that the content hasn’t caught up … have toyed with buying a 2-channel Processor for sound only, but haven’t … funding, room, etc

  • Tim Coleman says:

    I’m shooting for minimum 9.2 ultimately 11.2. I’ve been using 7.2 for 2 years and frankly the more quality audio I can get my hands on the better. The technology is available and constantly improving. BRING IT ON.

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